SHP15: Jenner and Nightingale

The focus today is on how, and why, we should use extended original texts with all students. This is a topic I can fully support. We start by looking at an extract from the 1559 Act of Supremacy and discuss how it could be used with various classes:


They present the rationale for reading original texts: helps with sense of period, offers nuanced interpretations, diversity and connections to experience; and from a general point of view, it helps with engagement, independence, literacy and seeing texts as a construction. An audience member suggests it is also a good insight for pupils into what historians actually do. We should be encouraging students to find strategies for dealing with difficult texts because every student has a right to access them (YES YES!)

Long term planning – working the reading into schemes of work through the year – is important to ensure continuity across units and to help students to practise and refine their new tough-reading skills. It is also crucial to consider how you introduce the text because it makes a big difference to the enthusiasm and engagement among the class. It’s important to see it as a lesson activity as opposed to a bolt on before you get to the enquiry. Throwing a geeky, mushy love of reading in quite a sickly way is a good way in. They suggest a few ways of doing this: I like the point about presenting the text as an artefact about a period they already love.

Preparing to read:
Number the lines and add comments and questions to the text to help them access it quickly.
Stage directions. Ask students to create for a text. We have a look at Dulce et Decorum Est. Starting with a smaller moment helps them to really engage with it.
Context: provide cartoons (eg, post-Versailles) and give references they have to match the cartoons; then give specific sections of the treaty and they can start matching those to the inferences they’ve made from the cartoons. This has been particularly useful for weaker students at GCSE who are better able to quote specific articles of the treaty as opposed to just speaking in general. Magna Carta received the same treatment: all the things John allegedly did wrong are used to predict the clauses of Magna Carta and then matched with specific sections of the original.
Wordle: what can be inferred from a word cloud of a piece of text?
Text mapping: use various stationery to annotate features of a text: subheadings, sources, conclusions etc. allows students to build a picture of a whole text – photocopy a whole section of a textbook, sellotape it together and put it out on the floor to be worked on as a group.
Character cards: provide fictional characters from a time period and then give a text about really characters, eg people living in Germany in the 1920s and a text called “Enter the Nazis”.
Reading Age Check: both through Word and Google Advanced Search.
Reading directions: put in pauses, louder, softer, faster, slower., emphasise vowel or consonant sounds…gets students to really think about how the text should sound before they read it aloud, again encouraging them to engage with the meaning of it. Also helps students to understand the reading as a construct because they will be reading it in the author’s voice.

Text in the classroom:
Bingo: provide headings or features of a text – students pick out evidence for each from the reading. This one was to use with an extract from Equiano:


Reverse highlighting: give statements; students cross out anything on the reading that does not pertain to their statement.
Translation: look at texts where the words are too hard for everyone, like the Domesday book, and get them to apply what they already know, eg capital letters denote a place. Restructure a sentence with difficult syntax by cutting it out and reorganising: over time they will learn to do this mentally. Choices: give a few and ask students to identify what matches the text.
Context clues: go and search Pinterest for ideas! Look around for clues in the text to the words you don’t know. I did this last week looking at a Cruikshank cartoon of Peterloo, with the scales tipped in favour of the peculators. We didn’t know this word but the other side was reformers so we were able to work it out.
Word map: a more visual type of glossary.

So many good ideas here for new lesson activities! Was planning to look at the Declaration of Independence on Monday for freshers week so I can apply some of it to this.

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